Matta road show promotes Malaysia to Indian outbound tourists

BENGALURU: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents has embarked on its inaugural road show in India to tap a larger share of the Indian outbound travel.

Matta inbound vice-president Datuk K. L. Tan said the first phase of the road show, held together with the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board (MTB), would cover the southern cities of Bangalore and Chennai.

Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, and Chennai were described as low- hanging fruits cities as their year-end peak travel seasons begin in October.

"Bangalore and Chennai were chosen due to their close proximity to Malaysia and a high number of flights (about 14 ) to Kuala Lumpur. The second phase of the road show will be in New Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad," he told Bernama here.

The six-day marketing and promotion tour ending Aug 13 is aimed at India's outbound travel which is growing 15 to 20% annually and is estimated to rise to around 50 million tourists by 2020.

According to Tan, a total of 15 Malaysian travel agents and industry players would showcase and offer value-for-money family-related packages with special focus on niche products like theme parks, shopping, local culture, nature and adventure for the affluent millennial travel generation.

"For the first time, the Sabah Tourism Board will showcase Sabah and its attractive destinations in a travel seminar," he said.

With this promotional trip, Tan said, Malaysia expected a rise in the number of Indian tourists this year following a drop of 4.7% (168,922) in the first quarter of this year. Last year, 177,253 Indian tourists came to Malaysia in the first quarter, with the total for the year being 722,141.

Currently, India currently ranks sixth among countries in terms of total tourist arrivals in Malaysia.

With the introduction of electronic visa (e-visa), Tan said Malaysia was forecast to attract 750,000 Indian tourist arrivals to Malaysia this year.

Asked on the Indian tourist travel pattern, Tan said the e-visa would help to ensure growth and stability for Malaysia's tourism industry.

"It certainly will be an added advantage for last-minute bookings, especially for Indian tourists who plan their travel about two weeks before the travel date," he said.

The Malaysian e-visa comes at a fee of ₹ 2,710 (about RM160) and can be obtained within 24 to 48 hours with a validity of three months.

Tan, when replying to a question, said China was the biggest source of visitors after the ASEAN countries, and stressed that the tourism markets of India and China were different but equally important to help bolster Malaysia's tourism sector.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz had said that Malaysia expected 30.5 million tourist arrivals in 2016 and that they were expected to contribute RM103 billion in revenue to the country. — Bernama